Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to Do in Kobe, Japan

Kobe Bucket List: Best Places to Visit in Kobe, Japan

Kobe, Japan, is a thriving port city located in central Japan west of Osaka. This bright, stylish city is the 7th largest city in Japan and attracts millions of tourists worldwide for the diverse entertainment and attractions it has to offer. A largely metropolitan area, visitors will be shocked by Kobe’s rich tradition and history. The local cuisine, architecture, and natural attractions are also some of Japan’s best.

To get to know this lively city better, read further to discover the 15 best things to do in Kobe, Japan.

1. Eat Kobe Beef

Kobe Beef

Kobe Beef is probably the first thing that pops into people’s minds when mentioning Kobe, Japan. The marbled Kobe Beef is famous for being the juiciest beef in Japan (maybe even the world).

It’s made from wagyu beef from highly prized cattle raised in Hyogo Prefecture. Eating Kobe Beef is a luxury that not many can afford and is a definite must-do for those who can.

2. Visit Ikuta Shrine

Ikuta Shrine photo via Depositphotos
Ikuta Shrine photo via Depositphotos

Travelers shouldn’t miss visiting Ikuta Shrine when in Kobe. It’s the oldest shrine in Japan, dating back to 201 AD. This wooden shrine offers a peaceful atmosphere where visitors can immerse themselves in nature and Japanese culture and history.

Don’t miss out on viewing Noh plays that’s regularly hosted at the shine, which beautifully depicts Japanese art and culture.

3. Climb up the Kobe Port Tower

Kobe Port Tower
Kobe Port Tower

The Kobe Port Tower is considered to be the national symbol of the city, so visitors definitely must see it up close or, better yet, climb up the tower.

The tower stands tall at 108-meter in height and was the first of its kind in Japan when it was built in 1962. Visitors will get a gorgeous view of Kobe’s cityscape in the tower’s many observatories.

4. Take a Stroll or Shop at Kobe Harborland

Kobe Harborland photo via Depositphotos
Kobe Harborland photo via Depositphotos


Harborland is right by the water in Kobe. A quick stroll through the area will greet visitors with trendy cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops.

It also has an ice rink and a huge Ferris wheel where riders can greatly view Kobe City from the very top. It’s the best place to get a feel of the vibrant city of Kobe.

5. Walk Across Akashi Kaikyo Bridge

Akashi Kaikyo Bridge photo via Depositphotos
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge photo via Depositphotos

Walking across the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge will be a great experience for those not afraid of heights. It’s the longest suspension bridge in the world and the tallest in Japan, standing at 283 meters.

There’s a walkway right under the bridge 50 meters above the ground that spans 320 meters long. Visitors will get a panoramic view of the Akashi strait with its glass floors.

6. Hike up Mount Rokko

Aerial view of Kobe city and Port Island of Kobe from Mount Rokko photo via Depositphotos
Aerial view of Kobe city and Port Island of Kobe from Mount Rokko photo via Depositphotos

Mount Rokko is the highest peak of the Rokko mountain range, standing 931-meters tall and overlooking the city along the bay. Hiking up the mountain requires a day trip that will give beautiful views of nature and a gorgeous night view of the entire bay at the top.

There are also cable cars located at different points around the mountain that can transport visitors straight to the top.

7. Hike to Nunobiki Falls

Nunobiki Falls by Laitr Keiows via Wikipedia CC
Nunobiki Falls By Laitr Keiows – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

Unlike with Mount Rokko, taking a hike to reach Nunobiki Falls isn’t optional. Visitors need to hike a 400-meter long trail to reach this natural attraction at the side of the mountain.

Nunobiki Falls is a series of waterfalls that dips down the mountain in four separate sections. Japanese artists, since ancient times, draw inspiration from these falls. Stone tablets with odes to the falls can be found at the site.

8. Visit Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum

Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum by Pule Man via Flickr CC
Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum by Pule Man via Flickr CC

In January of 1995, Kobe was struck by the Great Hanshin Earthquake that killed thousands of people and nearly destroyed the city. After years of rehabilitation, the city recovered to the thriving metropolis that it is today.

In 2002, the Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum was built in honor of those lost. The museum is a must-visit for those who want to learn more about Kobe’s devastating history.

9. Learn about Sake in Breweries and Sake Museums

Sake Brewery in Kobe Japan photo via Depositphotos
Sake Brewery in Kobe Japan photo via Depositphotos

Kobe is a city that’s famous for its sake. Visitors shouldn’t miss out on taking a tour that would take them to multiple traditional sake breweries dotted around the city where they can try sake samples.

There are also Sake Museums that tourists can visit to learn about the history of sake and how it’s made in Kobe.

10. Explore Chinatown

Nankinmachi in Kobe, Japan photo via Depositphotos
Nankinmachi in Kobe, Japan photo via Depositphotos

Visitors can transport themselves to China if they travel to Nankinmachi or Kobe’s Chinatown, just ten minutes’ walk away from Sannomiya Station.

Nankinmachi is named after China’s former capital, Nanjing, and was established by a population of Chinese traders bacn in 1868 when the Kobe Port was opened for foreign trade. Stroll around to get a taste of delicious Chinese cuisine.

11. Admire the Flowers at Fruit Flower Park

Fruit Flower Park in Kobe by Martin Lewison via Flickr CC
Fruit Flower Park in Kobe by Martin Lewison via Flickr CC

The Fruit Flower Park in Kobe is a popular spot for travelers wanting to relax amidst the colorful blossoms of different species of flowers. The park boasts of having 10,000 tulips, which are an amazing sight during Spring, along with the Sakura blossoms’ bloom.

The park is also a popular spot for traditional Japanese weddings, a delight for visitors in the park.

12. Join the Festivities at Kobe Luminarie

Kobe Luminarie Festival by Rast Drogathismos via Flickr CC
Kobe Luminarie Festival by Rast Drogathismos via Flickr CC

If you’re visiting Kobe in December, you’re in luck as December is when the city hosts its annual Kobe Luminarie Festival. The entire city will light up with colorful lights with spectacular design marking a huge celebration.

The festival was started to pay tribute to the lives lost at the Hanshin Earthquake, with each light representing a soul that fell in the tragedy.

13. Explore Rokko Island

Sunrise in Rokko Island by Himuca via Flickr CC
Sunrise in Rokko Island by Himuca via Flickr CC

Rokkos Island is an artificial island created from the rocks and earth from Rokko mountain. It’s just off the port of Kobe and spans 3.2km by 2km.

This island is definitely worth a visit to take in Kobe’s metropolitan scene. There are amusement parks, hotels, restaurants, and the Kobe Fashion Museum to check out on the island.

14. Take a Dip in A Hotspring at Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen by waychen_c via Flickr CC
Arima Onsen by waychen_c via Flickr CC

Arima Onsen is an ancient hot spring town dating back 1,000 years ago, located on the other side of Mount Rokko from Kobe.

With a reputation of being Japan’s oldest hot spring resort, visitors can dip into historic hot springs that are said to have healing properties for different ailments in the body.

15. Have Fun at A Jazz Bar

It may be surprising that Kobe has a claim to being the Capital of Jazz Music in Japan. And there’s no better place to experience fun and laid back Jazz music than at Sone Jazz Bar, where visitors can dine and watch a live Jazz Band.

A definite must-do for visitors wanting to experience a different side of Kobe.

Kobe Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your vacation to Kobe, we listed places to visit and other amazing activities in Kobe, Japan. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Kobe hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Kobe, Japan? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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